LALC eNews 24th November 2023

If any Clerks want to join the Clerks’ eGroup, or any councillors want to join the Councillor eGroup, contact

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This fortnightly newsletter is provided to member councils through the clerk and should be circulated to all councillors. This eNews can also be found on the LALC website under News.

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Training courses are available to book via the portal (login required)

The Training Bulletin is issued monthly, and courses are available to book via the portal. If there is any specific training which you feel would be valuable, and we don’t currently offer it, please let us know and we will investigate. The Training Bulletin can be found on the LALC website

Clerks – when booking training for your councillors, please ensure that their email address is correct. If not, they will not receive the booking confirmation or any joining instructions.

If you update your council email and are already booked on training, please let us know so that we can update your booking to ensure you receive the automatic reminders.

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Current vacancies


Closing date

Edenham Parish Council


No closing date

Addlethorpe Parish Council


11th September

Baston Parish Council


30th November

North Kelsey Parish Council


19th October

Wildmore Parish Council


27th November

Stubton Parish Council


18th November

Fulbeck Parish Council


4th December

Branston Parish Council

Assistant Clerk

8th December

Vacancy advertising

LALC can advertise your vacancy on our website and in the fortnightly eNews. This is a free service. If you do not have a pre-prepared advert to send us, please complete our Vacancy Template, which can be found in the Members Portal under Document Templates.    

We also offer a paid advertising service, costing £60, which ensures that your advert also appears on Lincolnshire County Council’s website, Facebook, and LinkedIn (in addition to the LALC website and eNews). Please complete the Vacancy Template (as above), ensuring that all requested information is completed, and then contact us at You will be invoiced for this service.

Please note that Lincolnshire County Council require a closing date on their advert, as well as salary information (these are mandatory fields). LCC will remove your advert once the closing date has passed, so please consider the date carefully as you will have to pay again to re-advertise if your vacancy hasn’t been filled by then.

We recommend all councils advertise their vacancy, job details, method of application and up to date contact details on their own website too.

Please let us know when the vacancy has been filled, so that we can remove it from our website/eNews. If your vacancy has not yet been filled and you are continuing to advertise, please let us know of any revised closing date. If you no longer specify a closing date, please let us know so that we can update the vacancy adverts.

The NALC Recruitment Manual (developed as part of the Civility & Respect project) is now available via the portal.  Go into Knowledgebase and click on 'Recruitment Manual' in the 'Employment' menu area. 

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Change of date: Chairs Workshop online training

The online Chairs Workshop training originally scheduled for 5th December, 18:00 – 21:00 has now been rescheduled to 12th December, 18:00 – 21:00. 

We apologise for any inconvenience this causes to those already booked on.

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New – Cemetery Management and Compliance training

We have now arranged new dates for burials training with ICCM.

This two-part online training will be delivered via MS Teams and you will be expected to attend both sessions:

  • Session 1 – 30th April 2024, 9:15 – 12:30

  • Session 2 – 1st May 2024, 9:15 – 12:30

Course overview:

  • Local Authorities’ Cemeteries Order 1977 (LACO)

  • General powers of management Compliance Registers and records

  • Granting and extending exclusive rights of burial

  • Consent

  • Avoiding disputes

  • Burials; depth, shallow graves

  • Administration processes

  • Grave digging – procedures, preparations, backfilling

  • Memorials Creating burial space

  • Exhumation Transfer of exclusive rights of burial   

Suitable for cemetery staff at all levels, and those with a responsibility for cemeteries but who are not involved in their day-to-day management.        

The course is non-core and costs £60 plus VAT.

Places can be booked via the portal.

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Clerk’s Networking this week

Thank you to everyone who attended and took part in the sessions at the Clerk’s Networking event this week, particularly given the sensitive and sometimes challenging nature of the topics being discussed.

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Engagement Session with Lincolnshire Police and The Police and Crime Commissioner

All Lincolnshire councils should by now have received an invitation to attend the relevant Police Engagement Session for your area:

I am delighted to invite you to the upcoming Parish Council Engagement Session for your district. 

Throughout December Lincolnshire Police and Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones are embarking on a new programme of engagement across the county – giving elected members the opportunity to hear about the work being done to keep their communities safe.

These new sessions with parish councils are part of a renewed focus on engaging with our communities – we understand how important you are in your communities and we want to ensure you are properly informed about the successes, challenges and new developments in the fight to keep residents safe from harm.

While both the force and the PCC recognise the funding and resource challenges we face Lincolnshire has developed an excellent track record of innovating in our drive to maximise the effectiveness and efficiency of policing.

Millions of pounds have been invested in new technology and resources to ensure we are well equipped to meet the challenges of modern policing  - including a cutting edge command and control system, the latest drones and brand new dedicated policing teams for roads and rural areas.

The entire front line of policing is dedicated 24-hours a day, seven days a week to keep communities safe – but a crucial part of that work is through neighbourhood policing because they are often the most visible element of the thousands of hours of law enforcement taking place every day.

The online meetings will provide a briefing on policing activity over the previous six months, an overview of crime statistics, and future plans. It will also be an opportunity for parishes to put questions to senior officers.  

These engagement activities will also give us an opportunity to outline the new neighbourhood policing model and how we believe it will work in tandem with other operational policing to keep residents safe in the streets and in their homes.

These will be attended by your area's supervising Superintendent, Chief Inspectors(s), Inspectors and Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones. We request that you nominate one person from your council to attend this session, either the clerk or a parish councillor so we can ensure the number allow for a more interactive session. Lincolnshire Police and Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones are embarking on a new programme of engagement across the county – giving elected members the opportunity to hear about the work being done to keep their communities safe.

These new sessions with parish councils are part of a renewed focus on engaging with our communities – we understand how important you are in your communities and we want to ensure you are properly informed about the successes, challenges and new developments in the fight to keep residents safe from harm.

The sessions are:

5th December East Lindsey 6-8pm

7th December North and South Kesteven 6-8pm

12th December Boston and South Holland 6-8pm

14th December Lincoln and West Lindsey 6-8pm

If your council has not received an invitation to one of these sessions, please contact:

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Upcoming FREE NALC event – An introduction to the Local Council Award Scheme

12 December 2023: 12.30 – 13.45 

The Local Council Award Scheme (LCAS) is an accreditation scheme for local (parish and town) councils in England. It helps recognise the achievements of those in the sector and provides a framework for their continuing improvement.

This free webinar introduces the core principles of the scheme and helps ensure councils have the confidence to put in an application. It is open to clerks, councillors and other council staff interested in the scheme.

It will include:

  • An introduction to the aims of the Local Council Award Scheme

  •   The benefits of applying

  • How to apply, how the scheme works, and tips on making the best application possible

  • How to make the most of achieving accreditation

  • An opportunity to ask further questions about the scheme

Register for your free place:

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Updated HMRC guidance on sports VAT 

HMRC has now issued further guidance on its interpretation of the non-business treatment of sports and leisure service by local authorities. This advice note updates the information that we issued in March 2023.


HMRC’s guidance prior to 2023 was that local authority sports and leisure services may either be taxable or exempt from VAT. This has been challenged in the courts, with test cases for England, Scotland and Northern Ireland going on for several years.

In Chelmsford City Council [2020] UKFTT432(TC) the First Tier Tribunal determined that such services are provided under a ‘special legal regime’ and can be treated as ‘non-business’, providing that does not give rise to significant distortions of competition. 

HMRC lost an appeal on the first part of that decision, where they did not accept the reasoning that local authority sports services are subject to a ‘special legal regime’. The Upper Tier Tribunal [2022] UKUT149(TCC) dismissed that appeal in March 2022. 

On 26 January 2023, HMRC advised Chelmsford City Council that they would NOT be pursuing the ‘significant distortion of competition’ argument and accepted that local authority sports services can be treated as non-business and outside the scope of VAT.

HMRC has now provided further guidance on interpretation of the new policy to its own staff, published in Internal Manuals VATGPB8410. This provides illustrations of the sort of services that will be covered by the non-business treatment.

Sports services that may be treated as non-business

HMRC has identified a range of sports and leisure services that it accepts are “sport and leisure services [supplied] to members of the public”. This includes any hire of sports facilities (e.g. pitches for football, rugby, hockey, netball, cricket, tennis and bowls, as well as facilities for swimming, ice skating, squash, table-tennis and badminton).

Hire of a room in a village hall or community centre, where the council has set up sporting equipment for use by the hirer (e.g. badminton or table tennis) is also non-business.

HMRC has clarified that the hire of sports facilities to a business (e.g. a yoga instructor) is a non-business activity, provided that the business provides sports services to individuals. However, the hire of a sports facility can only be treated as non-business where the sports facility remains managed and maintained by the council.

Where a tenant leases and maintains a sports facility, rent over £1 remains VAT-exempt.

Please note that the tribunal decisions only relate to charges for sporting services and should not be applied to meeting room hire, the provision of catering or sale of goods alongside sports, or other taxable or exempt business activities at this point. 

If you are in any doubt as to whether an activity is affected by this change, please consult your county association of local councils in the first instance.

Steps to take: current charges and reclaims for the past 4 years

HMRC issued a Business Brief shortly after conceding the Chelmsford case, explaining the steps councils should take to reclaim any VAT:

We suggest that councils consider the following steps in relation to sports facilities that they charge for, bearing in mind that HMRC might refuse some claims:

1) VAT registered councils charging VAT on the use of sports facilities or services by the public (including through their membership of sports teams) should:

a. stop doing so, even if there is an option to tax in place on the facilities,

b. compile and submit a claim to HMRC for a refund of such VAT declared for the past four years, and

c. consider whether to refund that VAT to bodies/people charged for sports.

2) Any council not VAT registered that has avoided reclaiming VAT on the cost of sports facilities because they were considered taxable supplies, should reclaimany such VAT incurred (but not reclaimed) over the last 4 years.

3) Any council that has treated sports services as VAT-exempt and including the VAT incurred on those activities in their partial exemption calculation should:

a. Exclude that VAT from their 2022/23 calculation, 

b. Check if they had any irrecoverable VAT in their 2019/20 to 2021/22 calculations, and review the calculation to see if they can now reclaim it, 

c. if they have done a 7-year average calculation for any of those years or to forecast a future year, review it to see if they can recover any further VAT.

Councils should not include premises leased to sports clubs for more than £1 in these calculations, if the lease makes the club responsible for maintaining the sports facilities.

Councils should email any claim for reimbursement to: and include ‘2023 LA VAT non-business’ in the subject line of the email. VAT returns and VAT126 claims should not be adjusted and the procedure above should be used.

Please note that VAT126 reclaims must be submitted within 4 years of the end of the month in which the supply of goods or services occurred, so a council can still claim for November 2019 until the end of this month.

VAT-registered councils cannot make adjustments more than 4 years after the due date of a VAT return, so the oldest return that can be claimed for is the December 2019 quarter, unless a council submits monthly returns or has non-standard VAT quarters.

In reclaiming any VAT charged, councils must avoid “unjust enrichment”, which might occur if they reclaim the VAT and keep it, rather than refunding it to customers. Where council facilities are subsidised by the taxpayer and operate at a loss due to low charges, HMRC are unlikely to consider that unjust enrichment.

An option to tax only applies to business activity and no VAT is charged on non-business fees. However, the option to tax will still apply to any non-sporting hire and would apply if the site was sold, so councils with one in place shouldn’t cancel their VAT registration.


This bulletin is only intended as a brief guide about a developing situation and councils should ensure they follow the Regulations and guidance on, read the tribunal decisions and seek professional advice from us or others if they are in any doubt. The Parkinson Partnership LLP accepts no liability for any loss arising from situations where councils have not followed the applicable law and guidance, or misinterpreted the information in this briefing without taking professional advice.

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Correction - link to Crime & Policing Survey 2023

We are aware that the link published in the last eNews didn’t work. The Police and Crime Commissioner Survey can be accessed here:

The survey closes on 6th December.

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New local government minister in Cabinet reshuffle

In his recent Cabinet reshuffle, the prime minister, Rishi Sunak MP, appointed Simon Hoare MP as the new local government minister. Tweeting about his appointment, the North Dorset MP commented that he had previously served as a parish, district and county councillor, “so it’s nice to be home”. NALC’s chair, Cllr Keith Stevens, has already offered his congratulations and will further engage with the new minister. The former local government minister Lee Rowley MP has been promoted to minister of state for housing following the sacking of Rachel Maclean MP. Michael Gove MP continues as the secretary of state for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. In other changes, Steve Barclay MP replaces Terese Coffey MP (who resigned) as the new secretary of state for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Richard Holden MP, a former co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on local democracy (for which NALC runs the secretariat), has become the new chair of the Conservative Party.

The Institute for Government has an excellent live blog and diagram on all the moves:

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Lincolnshire devolution announced

A proposed Devolution Deal between government and the local authorities of Lincolnshire County Council, North East Lincolnshire Council and North Lincolnshire Council has been announced. A devolution agreement is contingent upon Greater Lincolnshire proceeding through the steps necessary to meet the governance criteria required for a Level 3 devolution deal.

This devolution agreement includes:

  • The formation of the Greater Lincolnshire MCCA (Mayoral Combined County Authority), and the election of a directly elected mayor to provide overall vision and leadership, seek the best value for taxpayer’s money, be directly accountable to the area’s electorate and to receive new powers on transport, housing and skills.

  • Control of a £24 million per year allocation of investment funding for 30 years, 50% capital and 50% revenue, to be invested by the Greater Lincolnshire MCCA to drive growth and take forward its priorities over the long term.

  • £20 million capital funding to drive place-based economic regeneration in Greater Lincolnshire, to be allocated over the current spending review period, subject to a business case process.

  • £2 million of Mayoral Capacity Funding to support the Greater Lincolnshire MCCA in the early stages of this deal.

  • UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) planning and delivery at a strategic level from 2025/26, subject to funding, policy and delivery considerations at the next Spending Review.

  • New powers to shape local skills provision to better meet the needs of the local economy and local people, including devolution of the core Adult Education Budget, as well as input into the new Local Skills Improvement Plans.

  • New powers to drive the regeneration of the area and to build more affordable homes including compulsory purchase powers and the ability to establish Mayoral Development Corporations subject to consent requirements.

  • £8.36 million for the building of new homes on brownfield land and £228,000 capacity funding to bring forward a pipeline of housing projects, both in 2024/25 subject to a business case process.

  • New powers to improve and better integrate local transport, including the ability to introduce bus franchising, control of appropriate local transport functions.

  • The mayor will be responsible for a consolidated local transport settlement for the Greater Lincolnshire MCCA, which Government will provide Greater Lincolnshire MCCA at the next Spending Review.

  • Department for Transport will work in partnership with a new rural transport group to be established by the mayor of Greater Lincolnshire, to identify pilot projects to address rural connectivity and accessibility challenges.

  • Government will support Greater Lincolnshire in seeking a new rail partnership with Great British Railways, once established, so their priorities can be taken into consideration in future decisions regarding their local network.

  • Department for Energy, Security and Net Zero will provide observer representation on the Humber Energy Board, through which they will support the development of a Net Zero Strategy.

  • Relevant government departments and their arm’s length agencies will attend as full members of a new Coastal Partnership to ensure that the nature, culture and heritage of the Lincolnshire Coast are given a voice.

  • Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs will consider the role of the Greater Lincolnshire MCCA in ensuring an appropriate balance between sustainable food production and climate and environment outcomes. They will meet annually with the UK Food Valley Programme Board and work with the MCCA to deepen engagement with SMEs in food and drink manufacturing.

  • Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs will endorse the creation of an Enhanced Partnership to pilot the development of a forum for flood resilience, adaptation and management of the water system in a whole systems approach.

  • Greater Lincolnshire MCCA and a subset of Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s arm’s length bodies will establish a collaborative partnership to share expertise and insight across culture, heritage, sport, communities and the visitor economy.

Public consultation on this proposal will commence soon – LALC will share this information as soon as we have it.

Read more: 

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NALC survey – Young Councillors

The survey aims to gain insight into the experiences of young councillors within the sector, with responses helping us to improve the delivery of future (Young Councillor Network) sessions and help the co-chairs focus on the aims of the network.


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National Living Wage increase

The government has announced that the National Living Wage and minimum wage are set to increase from 1 April 2024. The current rate is £10.42 per hour, and this will go up by £1.02 to £11.44 per hour.

The rate for 18 – 20 year olds will go up by £1.11 to £8.60.

The rate is extended to apply for the first time to those aged 21 and over as it applies to workers 23 and over currently. Employee aged 21 and 22 will see an uplift of over 12%.

The effect of this is to further compress the National Joint Council (NJC) Green Book pay scales. As per the recently agreed pay settlement the minimum SCP 2 is currently £11.62 per hour and for clerks at SCP 5 it is £12.21 per hour, just 77 pence ahead of the minimum.

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Somerset Council is in financial difficulties

Somerset County Council recently wrote to all its town and parish councils about its current financial emergency, confirming that it is urgently reviewing all of its activities to prioritise where its limited resources are deployed. In order to protect the services their communities value, it is looking to speed up the pace of devolution. Local councils are being asked to identify which services they think their communities would like them to support financially.

Somerset Council have suggested that local councils have far more freedom than them to raise their precepts to protect those services their communities value.

Local councils can contribute to the provision of services from providing a financial contribution to enable the continuation of a service provided by Somerset Council (or contractors), working in partnership with or under delegated authority from Somerset Council, taking full control of assets and services entirely, or working together to support communities in other ways if services have to cease and local devolution is not feasible.

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NALC Blog: Food insecurity: what can councils do?

Author: Louise Marshall, senior public health fellow, and Bethan Page, public health speciality registrar, the Health Foundation

Thriving communities need all the right building blocks in place, including quality housing, stable jobs, a good education, and much more. Erosion of these building blocks causes instability in people's lives, reducing resilience to circumstances outside their control and increasing their risk of poor health.

Good food is a fundamental building block of health, and our diets are a leading cause of poor health and health inequalities in the UK.

Given the complex, global nature of our food system and the driving force of poverty, action is needed at national and international levels to ensure everyone has access to enough nutritious food. Alongside this, though, there is much that local government can do to support local communities to access sufficient nutritious food and to mitigate the known negative impacts of food insecurity on mental and physical health. 

This is the subject of a new Health Foundation briefing paper:

Read the full blog:

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